Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech, Marc Burckhardt |, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Chasing Redbird

Chasing Redbird

4.6 145
by Sharon Creech, Marc Burckhardt

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Zinny Taylor: Explorer

It started out as an ordinary summer. But the minute thirteen-year-old Zinny discovered the old, overgrown trail that ran through the woods behind her family's house, she realized that things were about to change.

Right from the start, Zinny knew that uncovering the trail would be more than just a summer project. It was her


Zinny Taylor: Explorer

It started out as an ordinary summer. But the minute thirteen-year-old Zinny discovered the old, overgrown trail that ran through the woods behind her family's house, she realized that things were about to change.

Right from the start, Zinny knew that uncovering the trail would be more than just a summer project. It was her chance to finally make people notice her, and to have a place she could call her very own. But more than that, Zinny knew that the trail somehow held the key to all kinds of questions. And that the only way to understand her family, her Aunt Jessie's death, and herself was to find out where it went.

From Newbery Medal-winning author Sharon Creech comes an intricately woven tale of a young girl who sets out in search of her place in the world—and discovers it in her own backyard.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Alexandria LaFaye
Zinny Taylor is tired of being asked, "Which Taylor are you?" She decides to make her mark in the world by uncovering an old foot trail. As she uncovers the old trail, she works through the pain of losing her Aunt Jessie and lets go of the guilt she felt for surviving the Scarlet Fever that killed her cousin Rose. Throw in a little romance, a healthy dose of sibling rivalry, and a pinch of fear for an uncle who starts chasing after the ghost of his wife, and you have the unique blend of humor, family dynamics, and magic that make this a noteworthy novel.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8Creech returns to Appalachia in this story of 13-year-old Zinny, a middle child struggling to find and accept herself plus look for a way to come to terms with the death of her beloved Aunt Jessie and her feelings of responsibility for that death. The novel revolves around an old overgrown trail that Zinny discovers and proceeds to resurrect. Meanwhile, her admirer, Jake Boone, is persistent about bringing her presents yet fails to convince her he is not really after her sister, May, as so many other boys have been. Uncle Nate seems to be losing touch with reality after his wife's death, and guilt rooted in the past resurfaces to confuse Zinny, who comes to feel that the trail she is uncovering will somehow bring sanity, safety, and a sense of identity to her life. It does, but in ways she could never have predicted. The journey for Zinny and readers is intriguing, delightful, and touching. Reminiscent of many novels about the rural South with wonderfully quirky characters and a focus on the setting of the natural world, this story seems much fresher and tangibly more in the present than most. Not as complex as Creech's Walk Two Moons (HarperCollins, 1994), there is still plenty to discuss such as the symbolism of the redbird in the title and the ethical issues surrounding Jake's gifts and Zinny's mistrust of his affection for her.Carol A. Edwards, Minneapolis Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
A teenager lost in the maelstrom of her large Virginia- mountain family devises a personal walkabout when she takes on the project of single-handedly rehabilitating a 20-mile-long wilderness trail.

Until recently, Zinnia Taylor, 13, spent a lot of time in the "Quiet Zone" of Aunt Jessie and Uncle Nate's house next door. But Aunt Jessie has died, and Uncle Nate remains bereft. Calling her his Redbird, he spends most of his time chasing through the woods, believing he is in pursuit of her. Adding to Uncle Nate and Zinny's burden is the death of her cousin, Rose, who died of the whooping cough when she and Zinny were both four. Amidst this pain, Zinny is looking for a place to call her own, for a sense of who she is, and for someone—anyone—who cares about her "most." The plotting can become capricious in the extreme, but Creech (Pleasing the Ghost, 1996, etc.) crams her novel full of wonderful characters, proficient dialogue, bracing descriptions, and a merry use of language. A bundle of contradictions, Zinny is at her prickly, individualistic best when fending off the overtures of 16-year-old Jake Boone, whom she (mistakenly) suspects of using her to get to her older sister.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.54(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chasing Redbird

Chapter One

Tangled Spaghetti

Worms dangled in Aunt Jessie's kitchen: red worms swarming over a lump of brown mud in a bowl. The bowl and the worms and the lump of mud were in a cross-stitched picture hanging above the stove.

When I learned to read, I made out these words in blue letters beneath the bowl: Life is a bowl of spaghetti ... Those worms weren't worms; they were spaghetti. I imagined myself rummaging among the twisted strands of pasta. That was my life?

There were more words: ... every now and then you get a meatball. That mud was a meatball! I saw that meatball as a tremendous bonus you might unearth in all those convoluted spaghetti strands of your life. It was something to look forward to, a reward for all that slogging through your pasta.

In my thirteen years, I've had meatballs, and I've had lumps of mud, too.

My name is Zinny (for Zinnia) Taylor. I live with a slew of brothers and sisters and my parents on a farm in Bybanks, Kentucky. Our house fits snug up against Uncle Nate and Aunt Jessie's, the two houses yoked together like one. Sometimes it seems too crowded on our side, and you don't know who you are. You feel like everybody's spaghetti is all tangled in one pot.

Last spring I discovered a trail at the back of our property -- an old trail, overgrown with grass and weeds. I knew instantly that it was mine and mine alone. What I didn't know was how long it was or how hard it would be to uncover the whole thing, or that it would turn into such an obsession, that I'd be as driven as a chickeneating dog in a henhouse.

This trail was just like thespaghetti of me and my family, of Uncle Nate and Aunt Jessie, and of Jake Boone. It took a heap of doing to untangle it.

Chasing Redbird. Copyright © by Sharon Creech. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Sharon Creech has written twenty books for young people and is published in over twenty languages. Her books have received awards in both the U.S. and abroad, including the Newbery Medal for Walk Two Moons, the Newbery Honor for The Wanderer, and Great Britain’s Carnegie Medal for Ruby Holler.

Before beginning her writing career, Sharon Creech taught English for fifteen years in England and Switzerland. She and her husband now live in Maine, “lured there by our grandchildren,” Creech says. “Moo was inspired by our mutual love of Maine and by our granddaughter’s involvement in a local 4-H program. We have all been enchanted with the charms of cows.”

Brief Biography

Pennington, New Jersey
Date of Birth:
July 29, 1945
Place of Birth:
Cleveland, Ohio
B.A., Hiram College, 1967; M.A., George Mason University, 1978

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